Policy

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings and using planning to protect the environment

Supporting detail:

Code for sustainable homes

The code for sustainable homes is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. It aims to reduce carbon emissions and promote higher standards of sustainable design above the current minimum standards set out by the building regulations.

The code provides 9 measures of sustainable design:

  • energy/CO2
  • water
  • materials
  • surface water runoff (flooding and flood prevention)
  • waste
  • pollution
  • health and well-being
  • management
  • ecology

It uses a 1 to 6 star system to rate the overall sustainability performance of a new home against these 9 categories.

The code is voluntary, and we do not intend to make it mandatory. It is not a set of regulations and should not be confused with zero carbon policy or the 2016 zero carbon target.

The only circumstances where the code can be enforced are where:

  • local councils require developers to comply with the code by including a requirement in their planning policy
  • affordable housing is funded by the Homes and Community Agency that requires homes to be built to code level 3
  • the level 3 energy standard is now incorporated in the building regulations

The code applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Within England it replaces the EcoHomes scheme, developed by the Building Research Establishment.

The code for sustainable homes: technical guide sets out the requirements of the latest version of the code, and how a code assessment is reached.

The code for sustainable homes: latest official statistics shows the number of homes that have been certified to the standards set out in the code’s technical guide.

The cost of building to the code for sustainable homes: updated cost review sets out the changing costs of code levels in comparison with previous years.

The code for sustainable homes: case studies provide examples of new homes that have built using the code. They show how the homes have been designed, planned and built and what they are like to live in.

On 20 August 2013, the government published the housing standards review consultation, seeking views on the recent review of building regulations and housing standards including the code for sustainable homes.

The code for sustainable homes uses the water efficiency calculator for new dwellings (PDF 220 KB) as the assessment methodology for WAT1. The water calculator tool version rev 02(Excel 4.2 MB) is available to download and use.

See also previous technical guide versions of the code for sustainable homes.

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